The perils of mango season!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on trail tape, trail markers, and how to stay "found" without putting
up too much trail tape. Today, I found a great exception to this latter rule, and paved a veritable freeway of trail tape through a seldom-hiked valley I like to frequent! Because I got lost (doh!)

I hike this valley regularly and there are dozens of side trails shooting off into the jungle. I know them fairly well. Today, I could not believe how quickly the landscape and visual markers had changed from just one month ago.

There were mangos everywhere on the ground; they were falling around me like a bomb-drop. Screw coconuts killing you, I bet one of those mangos falling on your head from the enormously tall trees could put you six feet under. I literally had to run a guantlet for a couple minutes to avoid getting clonked.

With mango season, comes pig season! The pigs had plowed that valley over to the point where I could not see the once familiar but faint trails. To make matters worse, pig trails were shooting off into dead ends, leading me astray.

The reason it's mango season, is because it's summer. Which although you might think it is always the same season here, the jungle knows there are subtle differences. With summer mangos come fresh green growth and newly sprouted leaves and branches on the vegetation. The lush growth had obscured the few trail markers there were, covered the trail in several spots, and obscured larger boulders I normally use for navigation. I was surprised at all the green growth, because the area has been fairly dry for a long time and I wasn't aware of enough rain that could have initiated the transformation. There was even a little pool in the ever-dry river bed and a trickle of water was noisily running into it, despite the summit being clear and cloud free today.

To make matters worse, there was even more deadfall than usual. In one area,  two enormous trees had fallen over. Because they were obscured by the jungle, I couldn't see there were fallen trees. It just looked like normal dense vegetation blocking the way where there was no trail. What had happened was that the faint trail was blocked by the green growth tops from the fallen trees.

After overcoming my amazement at being lost, I eventually got to work and figured out what was going on around these here parts. Out came the machete and the roll of trail tape. I doubt anyone will now get lost there for a while to come. However, I could see that the Mountain Rose I cleared out would probably envelope the trail again within a week or three.

So let this be a lesson: You can easily get disoriented on familar ground by the changing of the season and the hand of nature! And watch out for falling mangos...THUD!

--[June 2015]--

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